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Festival of Trees to Once Again Light Up the Holiday Season at CPI

by on December 09, 2019 5:00 AM

For the second year, the Central Pennsylvania Institute of Science and Technology (CPI) is organizing the Centre County Festival of Trees, which takes place Dec. 13–15 at the school at 540 N. Harrison Rd., Pleasant Gap. 

The budget-friendly, community event — which coincides with Bellefonte Victorian Christmas — features more than 70 decorated Christmas trees on display, along with plenty of holiday activities and a gift basket raffle. 

“It is an event for all ages,” says CPI’s Theresa Brickley. “There are 70-plus trees all lit in clear lights and decorated by various organizations. There are many unique and beautiful trees. There will be live entertainment throughout the weekend, visits from Santa, children’s crafts, a scavenger hunt, letters to Santa (children get a reply from Santa) and craft vendors. The [school’s] culinary arts program will have food for sale. 

“There will be a huge tree made out of poinsettias in the lobby. The horticulture/landscaping program grew the poinsettias and will be selling them. There will also be a basket raffle with over 50 baskets. Anyone that brings a toy for the Toys for Tots drive will be given a free basket raffle ticket.”

The Centre County Festival of Trees, previously organized by and benefitting Centre County United Way, has long been a local favorite holiday activity. According to Brickley, CPI students and staff assisted the organization with the event for many years, before Centre County United Way eventually turned the event over to the school in 2018. 

Now, proceeds support student organizations at CPI, helping cover the costs of activities and transportation to events, conferences and competitions on the local, state and national levels. Benefitting student organizations include the National Technical Honor Society, SkillsUSA, FFA and Family, Career and Community Leaders of America. 

“We are expecting around 2,000 people to attend the event,” says Brickley. “Our goal is to raise as much money as we can for our student organizations and to raise awareness of CPI and what we offer our community in both secondary and post-secondary career and technical education.”

In addition to the Christmas tree displays, basket raffle and toy drive, organizers at CPI also added new activities and offerings to the event, including the children’s crafts, scavenger hunt and craft vendors.

Hours are 4-7 p.m. Friday, 9 a.m.-8 p.m. Saturday and noon-4 p.m. Sunday. Santa will be on hand 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday and 1-3 p.m. Sunday.

The entrance fee for the event is $2 for adults and $1 for children ages 12 and under. 

“The event is a low-cost way to have fun with your family,” Brickley adds.

Thinking of attending the Centre County Festival of Trees? Brickley offers some tips. Bring cash to pay for your entrance fee or anything you might purchase over the course of your visit (though checks made out to CPI are also accepted). Families with strollers are permitted, but note they may not be able to fit through all areas of the event, such as between the Christmas trees. 

Free parking is available, but if you happen to be attending Bellefonte Victorian Christmas over the weekend as well, you can catch a shuttle from Bellefonte to CPI on Saturday, 9 a.m.–6 p.m. The shuttle leaves from both Bellefonte Area High School and the Centre County Courthouse on Allegheny Street.

For more details leading up to the event, follow the Centre County Festival of Trees Facebook page.



Holly Riddle is a freelance food, lifestyle and entertainment writer. She can be reached at [email protected]
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